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Time. On one hand, it seems a limitless resource and on the other, it appears as if there is never enough.  How do you value and make the most of your time?

Time

What if you saw someone burning money (literally), buying frivolous things, or otherwise foolishly wasting money. What would you think? Most would see them as crazy!  However, we witness people, including ourselves, wasting something much more valuable every day: time.

Why do we think nothing of wasting time, but think wasting money is crazy? Time has the greatest value, because once it’s gone you can not get more of it. Facebook, long drawn-out meetings or years spent waiting to do something important “someday” are just a few actions, or in-actions, that may be more damaging than burning money. Why the double standard?

William Penn brilliantly summed up it up in this statement, “time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

Despite the fact that time is the one thing we want the most, very few of us use our time wisely, consistently. It’s easy to get sucked in to scrolling through social media, procrastinating, or delaying a big decision. How often do you have a busy day and then, just before bed, realize you can’t remember what you actually accomplished? There is a huge difference between being busy and being productive.

Each day millions of people chase techniques and tricks that promise to find more hours in their day, while others rely on sheer grit and willpower. There are no magic bullet points or supreme spreadsheets that will magically help you free up more time.

Many people think they can will their way to success by multitasking, even though studies show this practice is counterproductive. Some people try sleeping less, working harder, etc. We can make changes through grit and determination, but it’s a struggle. The second we take our eye off the ball, we slip back.

Willpower works well enough so that it appears if we only try harder, it would really work. We think if we are better at it, we will be successful, but even the toughest and strongest lose steam. We aren’t the problem. The way we are going about it is. We want more time. We want to use our time better. We can try and try, but putting our nose to the grindstone is only going to get us so far.  This is not a long term tool for success. Instead, a change in mindset can bring about effortless change and is suitable for long term efforts.

In March I disabled my Facebook account. It was much harder than I imagined. I hadn’t realized what a habit scrolling had become. The first week I found myself mindlessly reaching for my phone. It wasn’t that I was wondering what my friends were having for lunch, rather it was a deep seated habit. Staying unplugged was tough and it took willpower.

After about a month, I realized how full my life had become without social media. I was more productive, at ease, and relaxed.  Around the 4-6 week mark, I had amazing clarity and no longer felt I was missing out. In fact, I realized that for years I had been missing out by wasting so much time on social media. An important change occurred; I had an insight. It was an awareness of a different way of seeing things and it brought about new thought. I just “got it” and it was no longer a struggle to limit my social media time. I rejoined and have enjoyed occasionally connecting without the urge to mindlessly scroll.

Awareness is not about looking for something better; it’s having a different perspective of the world you are living in. It’s not overcoming habits so that you can make a change. It’s as simple as looking from a different point of view and noticing what is there.

“We shall never have more time. We have, and have always had, all the time there is.” Arnold Bennett

Here are three ideas on making the most of all the time there is:

  1. Realize what is important to you and what you want to create in the world. Prioritize around this
  2. Notice your state of mind. Operating from the mindset of well-being brings a higher level of clarity, creativity, and ingenuousness that opens doors of opportunity and a further abundance of time.
  3. Notice instances in your life where you may be letting time slip away. What comes up? Look from a different point of view and see what is there.

If you are also looking for methods to combine with your mindset shift about time, here are are two that can help:

What if we all began to consider wasting time just as foolish as burning money?

Enjoy your time, make the most of it, and welcome the possibilities.

 

Until the next revolution…

 

 

Your Thoughts?

Share in the comments below what is coming up for you. What do you notice? How have you shifted your thoughts and actions?

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What if “stress” or feeling overwhelmed wasn’t a problem at all? What if overwhelm was merely an intrinsic message—your inner wisdom suggesting a change?Calming Overwhelm

Though feeling overwhelmed often feels like quicksand (the more we try to escape, the more we sink in) it may be more akin to the “check engine” light on your car’s dashboard. It’s purely a signal to make a change, and the change may be simpler than you believe.

We can approach overwhelm two ways: as something that “happens to you” that can be “fixed” or as a feeling. In the latter, your state of mind intrinsically facilitates a shift towards (or away from) a state of wellbeing. To fully explore both of these views, this article is divided into two parts. This week we explore taking action, and next week, we dive into the effects of your state of mind. It will be interesting to see how you relate with each view!

In the “check engine”-light metaphor, imagine a very busy day: your plate is full; you’ve got several errands to run; you’re wondering if it’s possible to get it all done. As you jump in your car and speed to your next stop, your dash goes off like a fireworks show: buzzers ringing, lights flashing. This isn’t just a “change the oil” suggestion. This is something serious. What do you do? What might happen if you ignored the alarms and kept the pedal to the metal? Chances are you could blow the engine and put your car permanently out of commission.

So what are you going to do? Most people, despite their hurry, would realize the risk of continuing on. They would realize those lights and buzzers signal problems, and would pull over to investigate or call for help before larger problems arise.

Compare this to the feeling of overwhelm: if you are the car, stress and overwhelm are the lights and buzzers on the dashboard. They are communicating the need to make a change immediately, or you could blow your engine. No matter your workload or schedule, something must change or you’ll be going nowhere soon.

Amid the frustration of overwhelm, it can seem difficult to pull over and check under the hood. Stop and consider what could happen in your life if you don’t.

Calming Overwhelm

For those wanting to calm overwhelm, the questions I would ask are: What is important to you? What do you want to create in the world? How might you organize your day around the triad of what you find important, what makes you happy, and what is effective?

As counterintuitive as it may seem, in the midst of feeling overwhelmed you must stop, re-evaluate, and make a change. Instead of trying to “manage time,” identify your priorities.

First, be upfront with yourself: there is no magic spreadsheet that will instantly change your life. One person’s way of prioritizing may not fit everyone, but ideas on getting started and getting organized can help you find your ideal approach. Here’s a simple method that’s a great way to begin your journey:Calming Overwhelm

Clear your mind!

One of the easiest and most productive ways to “reset” is to make a list of EVERYTHING on your plate. List absolutely everything you have to do personally, professionally, with your family, in your career, your volunteer activities, etc. Get it all out of your head and onto paper.

Imagine walking around with a massive swarm of flies buzzing around your head, flies so thick they form a black cloud. They are buzzing in your ears, your hair, and your eyes. You swat at them, but it makes no difference. This is often what overwhelm feels like. By writing (or typing) everything on a list, you get those flying, buzzing thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Consider keeping this a “living” list: continue adding to it whenever you think of things you need or want to do. Often this one act alone can calm the feeling of overwhelm. Don’t be surprised if your initial list is well over a hundred items. Once you have your list, consider grouping the tasks in categories as well.

Prioritize

What do you deeply care about? What do you want to create in the world? When you hone in on that, life gets a lot easier. With these ideas in mind, choose one thing on your list that, if completed, would make things easier, or -better yet- make other things on the list melt away. Then go do that one thing. Complete the task. Re-evaluate and choose the next thing. If choosing one thing is too daunting, try selecting two or three things at most.

The Master List

Many find it best to put the master list aside. Complete those 1, 2 or 3 important tasks and re-evaluate. Day by day progress will be made. Constantly seeing the master list may not be helpful. Consider glancing at it once a week, max. I make a monthly, weekly, and daily list of what I want to create and it has worked well for me. Start simple and notice what works for you.

A few more things to consider in reference to your master list:

  • What can you delegate?
  • Which of your tasks are out of line with what you want to create in the world?
  • What can you stop doing?
  • Can you hire people to take care of some tasks?
  • Are you allowing for self-care (sleep, exercise, quiet time to recharge, etc)?
  • Consider time-blocking.
  • Consider setting time limits. Ex: I’ll do this for 30 minutes.

The key idea to remember is: Overwhelm is not a state of being, it is a feeling. It is a signal to make a change: List, Prioritize and Re-commit.

 

…until the next revolution

 

Check out Part 2! Here we explore the effect your state of mind has on the feeling of overwhelm and your wellbeing.

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